23 January, 2017
One thing we definitely know is that if Theresa May gets her way then 'Brexit means Brexit' but following the Prime Minister's speech this week, we do at least know a little bit more about what we will be looking at should she get her way for Britain.
Whilst there is a commitment to try and maintain free trade to the greatest extent possible, the most striking headline coming out of the speech of course is the announcement that Britain will be leaving the single market. This announcement and the leaving of the single market will undoubtedly lead Britain towards trading with the EU behind barriers and a reduction in the number of foreign workers coming to Britain. We will need to assess the associated pros and cons which come with these factors but rather than Brexit itself, it is perhaps the transition from 'in' to 'out' and ensuring that this is done in as smooth a way as possible that will have the greatest impact upon businesses.
It is a simple fact that British business has not halted in the wake of the Brexit vote and indeed those exporting from Britain have perhaps seen better times than ever before of late with the faltering price of Sterling against global currencies. The uniqueness, strength and reputation of British businesses, the quality of their products and the desire for those in other countries to trade with Britain (particularly in the Far and Middle East) makes it difficult to see British trade ceasing to succeed once Brexit takes effect.
Regardless as to the political views of any individual or business, the referendum puts Britain into the position of having to embrace the decision of its people and for the reasons outlined above amongst other things, I am confident that what makes Britain and its businesses unique will stand all in good stead in the long run. It is for this reason that great importance must be placed on ensuring that there is a smooth transition in the coming months and years, thus making sure fluctuations in the financial markets are minimised and certainty for those trading with and within Britain is maintained at a consistent level.
From a legal perspective it is unlikely that we will feel the impact of too many changes in the short term and this will at least be of comfort to maintaining a degree of consistency. We have taken a look at how Brexit might impact upon businesses in a commercial law context in a separate blog, which can be read at https://www.forbessolicitors.co.uk/blog/2017/01/brief-overview-commercial-legal-considerations-business-post-brexit-britain/.
Overall consistency can be achieved by ensuring that appropriate interim trade agreements are implemented by Britain thus avoiding any sudden changes in legislation, regulation, tariffs and taxes and making the transition easier for Britain's businesses. The reduction in red tape following Brexit is something which business will welcome and this along with Britain's position both geographically and economically will provide an opportunity to grow Britain into a global power once more.
In any event, we would advise that businesses ensure that they future proof themselves by implementing contracts and policies which are able to ride any periods of uncertainty. For advice and assistance on how to do this or anything else arising out of this article, please feel free to contact John Pickervance of Forbes Solicitors via John Pickervance or on 0333 207 1134.